Beat: Downtown Springfield Observations

By Casey Pechan

Momma's Kitchen

Momma’s Kitchen

Momma’s Kitchen is one of the last well lit corners of Downtown Springfield. Occasionally a car silently drives by, its lights briefly flashing past in the darkness. There are no streetlights, and pedestrians have long since retreated to their homes. Its 6:30, on Superbowl Sunday. 

Momma sits, her eyes glued to the flatscreen in the corner. A blue bandana protects her short, stiff, dyed brown hair from the grease that coats her apron and white T-shirt. She tucks her worn Nike’s beneath her seat and leans forward to better look over the bottles of ketchup and Tabasco sitting in front of her. Accross from her a woman with long jet black hair, bangs, and a red pullover clicks her fingers impatiently as she calls to the San Francisco 49ers, “Y’all better get it!”

“That’s what I’m talkin’ about! Run it.” Apologetically she looks around realizing she was the only one out of the three women shouting.

Momma’s daughter sits alone at a table in front of the other two, her husky voice offering running commentary of the game, a cheesburger sits untouched in front of her.

The door swings open and a woman in her late 20’s walks in. “Hey, I just got off work, thought I would stop on in and say hi.”

Her thick winged eyeliner, styled hair, and red lipstick clash against the comfy sweater and leggings she wears. Obviously not interested in the game she chatters about the bar she just finished her shift at, and her daughter. Momma glances up only to say hello.

She soon leaves and in the silence that follows the small restaurant hums. Hums with the tense energy of the game, hums with the low sound of the portable air-conditioner tucked the corner; which barely offsets the stifling heat from the cloud of grease wafting out of the kitchen.

The women relax when commercials begin to run, and soon a plump woman in pink pajamas bursts in to exclaim over Beyonce’s halftime performance.

“Did y’all see her? Beyonce killed it. Her hair was…lookin’ so pretty.” She trails off to peek at something displayed on the open laptop in front of the woman with the red pullover. She sits for a moment on one of the few light blue chairs not stacked against the wall.

The worn looking bookshelf resting along the far right wall, set with porcelain figurines, old board-games, teacups, and books offers a hint to the buildings past. This corner of Main Street and Fifth Street used to house a large Salvation Army. When the donation center moved, it left in its wake a plethora of teacups, and two shelves filled with oddities that momma has left, giving her kitchen an eclectic feel of antique, and southern fried diner.

One of the many clocks balanced on the bookshelf begins to chime, the hands pointed at seven, while the three other clocks in the restaurant show 6:55.

Outside a truck slowly drives by, and inside the three women remain sitting, as they will remain until they need to clean and close, at 8:30.

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